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Rigorous PBL by Design
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Rigorous PBL by Design
Three Shifts for Developing Confident and Competent Learners

Foreword by John Hattie, Afterword by Suzie Boss



March 2017 | 208 pages | Corwin

Thoughtful Design Guide for Maximum PBL Impact

When problem- and project-based learning (PBL) is designed and delivered effectively, it has the potential to create confident and competent learners. Educators must know how to thoughtfully design projects that move students from surface to deep and transfer learning.

Bridge the gap between expected PBL success and real-life classroom implementation by diving deep into the design for new and existing projects. Through in-depth examples, discover how to make three shifts essential to improving PBL’s overall effect:

  • Clarity: Students should be clear on what they are expected to learn, where they are in the process, and what next steps they need to take to get there
  • Challenge: Help students move from surface to deep and transfer learning
  • Culture: Empower them to use that knowledge to make a difference in their life and the lives of others

Be the key to help students discover, deepen, and apply their learning to a world beyond them.

“This is an outstanding resource for educators, providing a practical framework for creating effective and impactful PBL experiences. We are committed to strengthening our PBL practices and we look forward to adding this valuable resource to our professional reference library.”
Rachel Bergren, MSc, Director, Education and Guest Experience
The Marine Mammal Center


"Michael McDowells book provides powerful insights to ensure the conditions essential for PBL are present for increased impact on student learning. This magnificent book provides educators with practical ways to design authentic and 'ever-lasting' learning."
Sarah Martin, Principal
Stonefields School, New Zealand


 
Foreword by John Hattie
 
Introduction
 
Chapter 1. Focusing on Confidence and Competence in Learning
Confident and Competent Students at Work: Sir Francis Drake High School

 
Confidence in Learning Attributes

 
Competence in Learning Levels: Surface, Deep, and Transfer

 
PBL as a Vehicle to Build Confidence and Competence in Learning

 
 
Chapter 2. Designing PBL for Student Confidence and Competence
Make PBL Effective

 
Advancing PBL by Design

 
 
Chapter 3. Design Shift I: Clarity—Understanding Expectations of Learning Upfront
Clear Expectations Motivate Learning

 
Where Am I Going in My Learning?

 
Steps for Determining Clear Learning Intentions and Success Criteria in Project Design

 
 
Chapter 4. Design Shift II: Challenge—Structuring and Sequencing Learning Through Projects
Designing for Challenge and Intervention

 
Step 1 (Plan A): Align Student Activities and Teaching Actions According to Surface, Deep, and Transfer Expectations

 
Step 2 (Plan B): Structure Inquiry to Identify Student Performance and Provide Support That Aligns With the Learning Needs of Students

 
 
Chapter 5. Design Shift III: Culture—Knowing and Acting on Impact Collectively
Developing a Culture of Confidence

 
 
Chapter 6. Reflections on PBL Practice
Working Together for Impact

 
Retooling PBL to Serve as a Vehicle for Confidence and Competence

 
 
Afterword by Suzie Boss
 
Appendices
Appendix A. Project Design Template

 
Appendix B. Sample Projects

 
Appendix C. PBL Design Shift and Key Elements Checklist

 
Appendix D. Recommended Texts for PBL Implementation

 
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

"PBL has finally reached the tipping point. As I meet with school superintendents around the country, most of them have already started or know they need to begin full-scale adoption of PBL in their districts. What has been missing is a clear set of next steps to improve PBL practice. Rigorous PBL by Design steps into this void and provides much needed help by busting PBL myths and designing PBL improvements around "clarity", "challenge" and "culture". McDowell gives teachers and education leaders the concrete guidance they need to assure their PBL practices will meet the needs of their 21st century students."

Ken Kay, CEO
Edleader21

“We need a book that focuses directly on student learning rather than a superficial process of teaching PBL.  This book gives teachers the practices and procedures to directly support students in transferring their learning.  For practitioners, this book makes a whole lot of sense.”  

Steve Zipkes, Founding Principal
Cedars International Next Generation High School, Austin, TX

"This is a must-read for any teacher wanting to understand how to thoughtfully plan, organize, and carry out in his or her own classroom the kinds of Problem and Project Based Learning (PBL) that will truly enable students to acquire and demonstrate “surface, deep, and transfer of” content knowledge and skills at the maximum possible levels.  During my 24 years in the classroom teaching elementary and secondary students, I regularly engaged learners in what I thought were correctly timed, well-designed PBL experiences that were both “hands-on/minds-on” and authentic. If I’d had this book to reference then, how much greater could those learning experiences have been for my students—and for me!  Michael McDowell’s thoroughly researched, instructive, and in-depth volume has now become my “gold standard” for understanding and applying PBL in today’s classrooms. Rigorous PBL by Design is worthy of becoming a graduate-level text, while being, first and foremost, a readable and doable “how-to” guide for the interested teacher and leader."

Larry Ainsworth, Author & Consultant
Encinitas, California

"Michael McDowells book provides powerful insights to ensure the conditions essential for PBL are present for increased impact on student learning. This magnificent book provides educators with practical ways to design authentic and 'ever-lasting' learning."

Sarah Martin, Principal
Stonefields School, New Zealand

"Educators interested in Project- and Problem-Based Learning are advised to read this book and heed its message. Michael McDowell highlights a point that can easily be lost in the enthusiasm for PBL; i.e., that the focus must always be on targeted learning outcomes. In other words, the project or problem is a vehicle to engage students in meaningful learning, and we must always keep this end in mind."

Jay McTighe, Author and Consultant
Understanding by Design

"What a brilliant piece of literature that unravels and addresses the challenges of an educational concept that has familiarity to almost all educators! In his book, Dr. McDowell presents a do-able means to making a positive change in learning by describing three design shifts—clarity, challenge, and culture. In this age of accountability when application of knowledge is required by academic standards, teachers of all grade levels can and will benefit from his approach to effectively implementing problem-based learning. The words practical and inspirational sum it up, as this guide will showcase PBL as a means to improving the instruction provided to learners, as well as making school a more meaningful place for both teachers and students."

Jan K. Hoegh, Associate Vice President
Marzano Research

"This book is spot-on in being both practical and deeply informative for educators working to implement strong and lasting conditions that support PBL. And further, provides a road map that can lead to significant improvement on student learning. It is a great example of just-in-time coaching!"

Jon Deasy, Founding Partner of Cambiar, CEO of New Day New Year, Executive Coach
Former Superintendent of LAUSD, Aspen Fellow, Broad Foundation

"For the Marine Mammal Center, mobilizing the next generation of marine scientists and conservationists is at the heart of our mission. We believe that well-designed PBL experiences are critical in preparing students to solve some of our planet’s most serious challenges.  Rigorous PBL By Design is an outstanding resource to both formal and informal educators, providing a practical framework for creating effective and impactful PBL experiences.  The Education team at The Marine Mammal Center is committed to strengthening our PBL practices and we look forward to adding this valuable resource to our professional reference library."

Rachel Bergren, MSc, Director, Education and Guest Experience
The Marine Mammal Center
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Key features
 

Going Deeper With PBL Design includes:

  • In-depth examples of how to re-tool existing PBL projects for maximum impact on student learning
  • An appendix of additional examples to help teachers getting started with PBL
  • How to use PBL to address surface, deep, and transfer learning outcomes
  • How to use PBL to increase students' confidence in their learning
  • Questions to help teachers reflect on their lessons and classroom culture
  • Next steps and activity prompts to use in the classroom

Purchasing options

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936
or order@corwin.com.

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ISBN: 9781506359021
$34.95

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936
or order@corwin.com.

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